History of the Great Lakes
Vol. 2 by J.B. Mansfield
Published Chicago: J.H. Beers & Co. 1899
At the time of his death, which occurred September 8, 1894, John Oades was the oldest shipbuilder on the lakes. His father was a shipbuilder before him, and was employed by the British Government for many years. His faithful service to the government being rewarded by a grant of land in Canada, he came to this country to relocate, about the year 1824, when John was seven years of age. The father was subsequently drowned, and while still quite young the son entered the shipyard of a relative named Collins, at Oswego, and commenced to learn the trade. Subsequently Mr. Oades established a yard for himself at Clayton, N. Y., where he built about all the steamboats then in service on Lake Ontario, as well as a large number of sailing vessels.
Mr. Oades came to Detroit in the spring of 1865, and was for two years foreman of the Detroit Dry Dock Company. He then associated himself with his son in the well-known yard at the foot of Dubois street, where he assisted in building a great number of boats, the most notable of which was the John Oades, a propeller launched in 1889, and still operated to Lake Superior ports by the Peninsular Transit Company.
Mr. Oades was a rough and hardy sort of man, but highly respected and esteemed by all who knew him. His acquaintance among vessel men was very extensive, and his knowledge of the shipbuilding business was not surpassed by any of his competitors.
WALTER H. OADES
Walter H. Oades, son of the late John Oades, was born at Clayton, N. Y. in 1849, and came to Detroit with his father in 1865. One year later, when but seventeen years of age, he started a small yard at the foot of Dubois street, and began the building of yawl boats and other small craft. In 1867, he was joined by his father, and their first venture was the schooner W. H. Oades. This little vessel had a disastrous history, being practically burned, together with the shop, after the frame had been erected. The damage was scarcely repaired when she fell down from the keel blocks, continued rains having undermined the supports. After the Oades was launched and put in service, she was sunk, raised and afterward again sunk at Buffalo, then raised and finally sunk at Point Pelee, where she now lies.
Among the many vessels built by Mr. Oades and his father were the following: Propeller, John Oades; schooners, John Burt, the Mineral State, Ganges and Adventure; steamers, Alice Wilds, Shenango (now the Lizzie Madden), Charles Hibbard and Minnie M. The tug Owen was also built at this yard and the steamyacht Lotus, owned in Ogdensburg.
Mr. Oades also built a large number of pontoons for wrecking, and does a great deas of repair work for steam and sail yachts and other small craft not handled in large yards. His plant is well equipped for this kind of work, and his yard headquarters for yachtsmen and owners of pleasure boats.
Bartley O'Brien, one of the old-time engineers, and for a number of years identified with the lakes, but now filling the position of chief engineer of the St. Paul Elevator Company, of Chicago, is an Eastern man by birth, having been born in Troy. N.Y., in 1849, a son of Henry and Honora (Condon) O'Brien. The father, a ship carpenter by trade, was a native of Ireland, and on coming to this country took up his residence in Troy, N.Y., where he and his wife both died.
There our subject was reared and educated like most boys of his day, and during early life engaged in steamboating on the Hudson river, from Troy to New York City. Coming to Chicago in May, 1856, he began sailing on the lakes, entering the employ of J.S. Dunham, as fireman on the tug A.B. Ward, where he transferred, as engineer, to the tug A.C. Gunnison. In 1858 he was engineer of the tug C.A. Mosher, of the same line, and in the fall of the latter year took her and the A.C. Gunnison south to New Orleans, these being the first screw boats to go down the Mississippi river. In June, 1859, he returned to Chicago, but the following September again went to New Orleans, on the tug Union, out of Philadelphia, remaining on her until she was sold to the Confederacy at the outbreak of the Civil war. In 1861 he was at the mouth of the Mississippi as engineer on the tug Watson, where the ram Manassas struck the sloop-of-war Richmond. He then refitted the tug Mosher, but before she could get away he was forced into the Confederate service as assistant engineer on the steamship Gov. Moore, formerly the Charles Morgan, which was lost in the Mississippi river April 24, 1862. Mr. O'Brien jumped overboard and swam ashore with the rest of the crew, and proceeded to New Orleans, and then to Vicksburg with Farragut's fleet. In February, 1863, he came north from New Orleans to Chicago, by way of New York City, and again entered the employ of Capt. J.S. Dunham as engineer of the tug A. Mosher, remaining on her during the season of 1863. In 1864 he went as engineer on the tug Crawford, where he remained two years, and in 1866 took the engines of the steamer Lucretia south, fitted them up at New Albany, Ind., and remained there one year, after which he returned to Chicago and brought out the tug Miller. After four years spent as engineer on the tug Crawford, he took command of her as captain for five more years, and in 1880 was engineer of the Albert Soper, which was engaged in the lumber trade. He then brought out the A.R. Colburn, which was also running in the lumber trade, and on her he remained for seven years. The following two years he was engineer on the Isabella Boyce; and for four years was engineer of the John Otis, rounding out over forty years on lakes and rivers.
In 1863 Mr. O'Brien was shipwrecked off the Narrows, New York City; in 1883 was on the Colburn when she burned off South Haven, Mich.; and the following year was wrecked at St. Joseph, Mich. The citizens of Michigan City, Ind., presented him with a gold medal for assisting in saving the lives of the crew of the schooner Early Bird, and he numbers it among his most cherished possessions. He is an honored member of the M. E. B. A., and has the respect and confidence of all who know him.
In 1868 Mr. O'Brien was married to Miss Mary O'Connor, a native of Troy, N. Y., and a daughter of Thomas O'Connor, who was a dry-goods merchant of that place. To them have been born eight children, namely: James, a steamboat engineer at New York City; Henry T.; Susan B.; Ellen F.; Elizabeth M.; John C.; Thomas J.; and Alice E. The family residence is at No. 5542 LaSalle street, Chicago, Illinois.
John O'Conner is a son of Thomas and Annie O'Conner, residents of Buffalo, who came from Northampton, Mass, where our subject was born March 19, 1858. The parents settled in Buffalo when he was but eighteen months old, and he received his education at that place, leaving school when quite young. Like many other harbor-tug men, he began active life by ferrying on Buffalo creek, at which occupation he was employed about three years. He then entered the machine shop of Farrar & Trefts as an apprentice, and after a year's employment there worked at the machinist's trade in the shops of the Ritter Boiler Works nearly two years. He was then fireman on the tugs Orient and Annie P. Dorr, respectively, and for a short period succeeding that employment was engaged as engineer on various harbor tugs, receiving his first license when twenty-one years of age.
Beginning with the winter of 1878-79 Mr. O'Conner was engineer of the Erie Basin elevator one year, was also for the same length of time engineer at May's dry kiln, and for three years worked at the Richmond elevator, as chief engineer. During the season of 1884 he was made engineer in Maytham's Tug line, and continued as engineer on various tugs until 1892. For the seasons of 1893-94-95 Mr. O'Connor was chief engineer, respectively, of the steamers Bell Cross, Edwin S. Tice and J. H. Shrigley, and for the seasons of 1896-97 he was engineer of the tug S. W. Gee. In May, 1898, he was made engineer of the tug C. F. Dunbar, the largest and strongest tug on the lakes, there being nothing on the lakes like her. This boat he brought out. Mr. O'Connor holds both pilot's and engineer's papers. He is a member of Local Harbor No. 41, of the American Association of Masters and Pilots, and also of the Buffalo Harbor Tug Pilots Association.
In 1881 Mr. O'Connor was married at Buffalo to Miss Kate Leonard, by whom he has three children: Thomas, Jennie and Jeremiah. The family reside at No. 136 Mackinaw street, Buffalo, New York.
CAPTAIN THOMAS O'CONNOR
Captain Thomas O'Connor, a retired lake captain, is one of the prominent and well-known marine men of Chicago. He is a native of Ireland, having been born May 1, 1830, in County Wexford, a son of Daniel and Mary O'Connor, of the same locality, where they passed their entire lives.
Our subject was reared and educated at New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland, and in 1845 commenced a four-years' apprenticeship to the seafaring life out of New Ross. During his six years' experience on the ocean he sailed round the Horn, thence to New Orleans, where, in 1853, he was laid up with yellow fever. In 1854 he came to Chicago, and here, in the following year, commenced sailing the lakes with Captain Sims, with whom he remained until 1860. In that year he bought the schooner Forfar, built in Chicago for the grain and lumber trade, and sailed her one year; then bought the schooner George Davis, but lost her in the fall of 1862, in Lake Erie; then bought the schooner Perry Hanna, and sailed her two years, at the end of which time he purchased the schooner Grapeshot, and sailed her two years. In 1867 he bought the Lucy J. Latham, and sailed her until 1871, when he purchased the schooner Prince Albert, sailing her during 1872-72-72; then he sailed the Watertown till 1884, when he retired from the lakes, after having lived about forty years as a mariner. In the fall of 1885 he went into the wholesale and retail liquor business, retiring June 20, 1897. He has shipmaster's papers dating from 1855, the year after he came to Chicago, of which city he has been a resident ever since, and in the great fire of 1871 was burned "out of house and home."
In 1858 Captain O'Connor was married to Miss Catherine Murphy, who was born and reared in New York, and to this union were born nine children, seven of whom are yet living: Mary Eliza, John V., Anna H., Sarah E., Daniel H., William E., Katie A., T.F. and James Joseph, Mary Eliza and Sarah E. are dead. He has always voted the Democratic ticket.
CAPTAIN SIMON O'DAY
Captain Simon O'Day of Muskegon, Mich., was born at Kilrush, County Clare, Ireland, in 1843. In 1850 the family emigrated to Canada, landing at Quebec, and after a residence of three years in Hamilton, Ont., removed to Buffalo, N. Y., where the Captain secured his education in the public schools. When he was but sixteen years of age he shipped on the schooner Petrel, and afterward on the schooner Chief Justice Marshall, on which he served during the season of 1859. Upon the opening of the season of 1860 he joined the schooner Circassian, and was transferred to another vessel during the season, and sailed on various vessels until the year 1872, when he took charge of the schooner Contest, of Chicago, remaining master of her five seasons. For three years subsequently he was master of the schooner H. C. Albrecht, and in 1881 he purchased an interest in the steambarge C. Hickox, and ran her as master eight years. He then purchased an interest in the steamer D. W. Powers, and was master of her four seasons. He sold his interest in the Powers in 1892, and in 1893 sailed as mate and master out of Chicago, finishing the World's Fair year as mate of the steamer George Burnham. In 1894 he sailed the steamer J. H. Shrigley, and in 1895 became master of the Samuel F. Hodge. In 1896 he was master of the Isabella J. Boyce, since which time he has been sailing the lakes.
In 1868 Captain O'Day was married to Miss Mary Brennan, of Buffalo, by whom he had six children; Mary, Brian, Thomas, Jennie, Simon and Annie, all of whom are living. After their marriage Captain and Mrs. O'Day moved to Muskegon, Mich., where they resided until 1899, in which year they moved to Buffalo, N. Y., where they now make their home. Captain O'Day is well known as an inventor of an oil projectile, used for calming the waves.
Henry Odette, who is the son of John G. and Julia (Du Mars) Odette, was born in Detroit, Mich., in 1836, and to this day does not show any signs of the ravages of age. Early in life he removed with his parents to Perrysburg, Ohio, where he attended the public schools. In the spring of 1848 he shipped as boy waiter on the old passenger steamer Columbia, at that time plying between Detroit and Saginaw. The next spring he found employment on the Wabash & Miami canal, with Captain Jamieson, his boat running between Toledo, Cincinnati and Wabash. His next berth was on the John Hollister, on which he remained as deckhand until August, 1850, when he shipped on the Franklin Moore, plying between Detroit, Port Huron and Goderich. In the spring of 1851 he was made porter of the Franklin Moore, and subsequently passed two seasons on the steamer Ruby in that capacity, during the seasons of 1854-55 serving as fireman on the last-named boat. In April, 1856, Mr. Odette received his first papers as engineer, and shipped as second engineer on the side-wheeler Forest Queen, a passenger steamer plying between Port Huron, Detroit and Port Austin. On her first trip that spring she collided with the steamer Northerner and sank her, the second engineer of the lost steamer being drowned. Wreckers who went down to raise the Northerner found the unfortunate engineer in his bunk, his arms folded across his breast, and it is believed he never awakened after going off watch. The Forest Queen remained by the stricken boat until all the others had been taken off. In the spring of 1857 Mr. Odette was appointed first assistant engineer of the steamer Bay City, plying between Detroit and Sandusky. In 1858 he was made chief engineer of the steamer T. Whitney, of Windsor, Ontario, in the lumber trade towing between Wallaceburg and Lake Erie ports. This boat was laid up on the second of July, and Mr. Odette shipped on the steamer Ocean as first assistant engineer, transferring from her to second engineer's berth on the steamer Dart, on which he closed the season; he remained on the Dart unti she was sold in August, 1860, when he was appointed chief engineer of the steamer Swan, then towing between Fremont and Sandusky. He closed the season, however, on the Gore, and during the winter took out her engine and placed it in the steamer J.P. Clark, on which he came out the following spring, he closed that season on the steamer Bay City as first assistant engineer. In the spring of 1862 Mr. Odette was appointed first assistant engineer of the steamer City of Cleveland, and closed the season on the T. Whitney, as chief, plying between Detroit, Sandusky, and New Baltimore, with staves, etc., remaining in his berth until the fall of 1863. The next spring he came out as second engineer of the propeller Chicago, but as she was laid up on July 3, he went as chief of the Forest Queen, on which he made two trips, finishing the season on the Ruby. During the winter he fitted up the Ruby and Ariel. In 1865 he went down to the Mississippi and shipped as second engineer on the government hospital steamer Baltic, engaged in transporting prisoners for exchange who had been captured by Generals Sherman and Thomas. He remained on her until July when he was appointed chief engineer of the steamer, Lady Pike which was used in carrying army supplies on the White River to Pocahontas, Ark.; she was laid up in Memphis, and after some delay went to St. Louis for repairs, upon the completion of which she was used as a tow boat on the upper Mississippi between Wyoming and Savannah. When the season of navigation closed on the river, Mr. Odette returned to the lakes and shipped on the steamer Meteor, of which for two years he was first assistant engineer. In the spring of 1868 he came out as chief engineer of the steamer Robert Prindiville, closing the season on the excursion steamer Favorite, and serving the following season as chief of the propeller Pittsburg.
In the spring of 1870, Mr. Odette went to Sarnia, Ontario to take charge of the passenger steamer Sea Gull, plying between Sarnia and Port Edward and he held this berth seven years, giving good satisfaction at all times. The seasons of 1878-79 he passed in the employ of the Canadian government as chief engineer of the tug Truden, then at work on the Nebish, spending both winters in Sarnia bay as chief of the tug Kate Moffat and others of that line, with which he went to Detroit after they were purchased by Mr. Murphy, of that city. Before the close of the season of 1880 he returned to Sarnia however, and was made chief engineer of the passenger steamer J. C. Park, plying between Sarnia and Dresden, holding that berth until July, 1881, when he again went on the river tug Kate Moffat. The next three years he sailed as chief engineer of the steamer J. C. Park; in 1885 as chief of the steamer Hiawatha; 1886-87, chief of the ferry steamer J. L. Beckwith, between Sarnia and Port Huron; 1888-89, first assistant on the steamer Nahant; until August finishing the season as chief of the Albert J. Wright; 1890, chief of the propeller Toledo; 1891-92, chief of the Nellie Torrent; 1893, chief of the St. Paul until August, after which he went on the Leland, and in 1894 he entered the employ of Theodore Kuntz, in Cleveland, as chief engineer of his power house, a position which he now holds. He is a member of the Marine Engineer’s Beneficial Association.
Mr. Odette was united in marriage to Miss Frances Foster, of Detroit, on July 19, 1859; of the children born of this union, those living are: Jane, now Mrs. James McFarland; Rosie, Mrs. Charles Bonofan; Emma, Mrs. Ed. Stevenson; Charles, a marine engineer on the steamer, Superior, Harry and Nellie. The family residence is at No. 429 Detroit street, Cleveland, Ohio.
CAPTAIN BENJAMIN F. OGDEN
Captain Benjamin F. Ogden, whose ancestors for many generation were marine men, being masters of both ocean and lake-going vessels, is a steamboat captain of good record, and of quick comprehension in business affairs. He is an officer of fine presence, gentlemanly bearing, and a large measure of vitality.
Our subject was born on November 19, 1861, in Chicago, Ill., and is a son of Capt. James and Hannah (Baker) Ogden. The father was a sea captain hailing from Fair Haven, Conn., and traveled all navigable waters on his ships. The mother, who was born in Ireland, emigrated to Rochester, thence moving to Chicago about the year 1855. It is said that Capt. James Ogden, the father, took one of the first tugs in use in Chicago to that port from Philadelphia by way of the Welland canal. This was in 1857, and it was one of the several purchased by the government and taken to the Mississippi river at the breaking out of the war of the Rebellion. The grandfather, Nathaniel Ogden, was a noted whaler, sailing out of New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Capt. Benjamin F. Ogden's school days were passed in Chicago and Milwaukee; his parents removed to the last city about 1873, where he finished his education, and three years later he began his career on the lakes in the United States revenue service as cabin boy on the cutter Andrew Johnson, with Captains Davis and Barr, remaining in government employ three years, becoming ordinary seaman the last year. In the spring of 1879 he shipped before the mast in the schooner Napoleon. During the next eight years he knocked about in different vessels, becoming mate of the schooner Granger, on which he remained two seasons, and mate of the schooner John Scheutte one season. In the spring of 1888 he joined the steamer Lewis Phalow as mate, filling that office two seasons, when he was promoted to be master of the steamer, an appointment well deserved, owing to his correct habits and good business qualifications. Remaining with the same owners - the Delta Lumber Company, of Detroit, - until 1898, he was promoted to the command of their new steamer Ionia, which he laid up at the close of navigation, after a fairly profitable season in general freight and raft-towing business. During this period as an officer Captain Ogden has not been subject to any casualty, neither in the way of wreck nor of loss of life on his vessel.
On December 19, 1875, Captain Ogden was wedded to Miss Margaret, daughter of Samuel and Jessie Clouston, of Chicago. Two daughters, Grace and Lily, came to bless this union. The family homestead is in Del Ray, Detroit, Mich. Socially, the Captain is a Master Mason of Detroit Lodge No. 2, Royal Arch Mason, of Monroe Chapter No. 1, and Monroe Council No. 1.
Thomas O'Hara was born in the West of Ireland June 12, 1853, and is one of a family of six children, all of whom are living. Matthew O' Hara, his father, was a farmer; his mother's name was Margaret Brennan, and they both died in Ireland many years ago.
The subject of this sketch attended school in his native country, and emigrated to America in the year 1870, locating at Waterbury, Conn., where he worked a couple of years with an uncle who was a gravel roofer. His next employment was at Cleveland, Ohio, first in the Collins Rolling Mill, and then with the City Forge, where he worked two years. In 1874 he first entered the lake service by shipping out of Cleveland before the mast on the Oliver Culver, under Capt. James Davidson, who in 1897 was one of the officers of a Buffalo court. He then went in the same capacity in the schooner D. K. Clint with Captain Pringle, of Marine City, Mich. From that service until 1889 he was in various sailing vessels, and for the five consecutive seasons preceding 1889 he was second mate with Capt. George Blair, of Oswego, in the schooner Schuylkill, of the Anchor line. In 1889 he entered the steamboat service as wheelsman of the Annie Young, under Capt. Albert Huff, but closed the season in Alaska under Captain Doherty. The following season he obtained the requisite papers, and occupied second mate's berth in the Commodore with Capt. D. R. Garner. In 1891 until September, he was in the same capacity on the Arabia, under Capt. Patrick Shay, when he transferred to the Milwaukee under Captain Carlisle, and closed the season on her. In the early part of 1892 he was second mate of the Robert A. Packer, then of William H. Wolf, but closed the season in the Chemung. He began the season of 1893 with a couple of trips as second mate, under Capt. Eli M. Smith of the Northern Queen, then went in the Sitka, of Cleveland, under Captain Bessing, finishing the season in the Chemung, under Capt. Walter Robinson. For the year 1894 he was in the Lackawanna, Capt. Frank Weinheimer, and in 1895 was in the Russia with Capt. John Green for two months, finishing the season identically with that of 1893. For the season of 1896 he was in the Grand Traverse and H. J. Jewett, respectively, the latter of which was laid up at Chicago. During the first part of the season of 1897 he was on the H. J. Jewett, under Captain Trowley, finishing that season on the New York, under Capt. J. Durgan. For season of 1898 he had the position of second mate of the John C. Gault, under Captain Lewis.
Mr. O'Hara has had but one serious experience during his sailing career, and that was in November, 1878, in the schooner Cecelia Jeffries, commanded by Capt. John Malloy. She sprang a leak in a gale off Long Point, Lake Erie, and went down a total loss, her cargo being coal. All the crew were rescued by taking to the boats. Mr. O'Hara is a single man and resides at No. 48 Seneca street, Buffalo. He is a member of Local Harbor No. 41, of the American Association of Masters and Pilots.
JOSEPH R. OLDHAM
Joseph R. Oldham was born in 1848, in Liverpool, England. His father's family were old Lancashire people, but his mother was Scotch, her family having come from Edinburgh to England in 1836.
Mr. Oldham's first experience in iron-shipbuilding was gained under Duncan McDonald, and Peter McNidder, of Denny's of Dumbarton. He received his early theoretical education from Edward Arnold, a chief draughtsman at the Royal Navy Yard in England, becoming a student of naval architecture with him at Ramsey in 1864. He was for several years draughtsman at the Eagle Engine Works, Bootle, and the Caledonian Engine Works, Preston. Being a thorough and ambitious man, he now rose in his profession in connection with draughting and building iron ships, and was employed by Gilbert S. Goodwin, consulting engineer and chief engineer surveyor of the Veritas, as draughtsman and out-door assistant for five years. In 1874 he became surveyor to Lloyd's at Sunderland, showing the greatest diligence, care, and efficiency in prosecuting work that he was appointed to superintend. Mr. Oldham is a man of good presence, courteous and gentlemanly, and there is no hesitancy in saying that to these qualities, coupled with his thorough knowledge of the requisites of a surveyor, he owes his rapid advancement in his profession. He has been employed in the Liverpool offices of the Veritas, The Inland Lloyd's Register, and the Record of the American and Foreign Shipping.
Mr. Oldham came to America more than ten years ago, and first opened an office in Buffalo, N.Y. He came supported with excellent recommendations from most of the principal shipbuilders and shipowners of England, amongst whom are included Sir James Laing, J.P. Lloyd's committeeman, Suez Canal commissioner, chairman of the River Wear Commissioners, etc.; Messrs. Palmer of Jarrow-on-Tyne, the superintendent of the Cunard Steam Ship Co., the Underwriters Registry for Iron Vessels, the Chief Surveyor of the Veritas, etc. His knowledge as a superintendent and consulting engineer soon created a demand for his services in this country. He remained in Buffalo but a short time, removing to Cleveland in 1888, where he has since resided, accepting a position in 1890 with the Globe Iron Works Company, for which company he designed such well known steamers as the Castalia, Republic, and others of equal size and prominence on the lakes. He has also been employed as special expert marine appraiser by the United States Government. Mr. Oldham is Lloyd's Agent, Underwriters' Surveyor, and is a member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, the Civil Engineers of Cleveland, Ohio, the Mechanical Engineers and The Engineers Club of New York.
Mr. Oldham was united in marriage to Miss Annie E.S. Banks, of Liverpool, England in 1874. Nine children have been born to them, five of whom are living: G. Ashton, Amy L., John L., Mabel A. and Annie J. It is the purpose of Mr. Oldham to have the eldest son, G. Ashton, follow the same line of business as himself as he has been so successful as a workman in the shipyards, hence he will take a course of scientific training at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. Mr. Oldham, though a quiet member of the Republican party, has done useful service with his pen for the protection of American shipping. He was one of the Republican reception committee of the National Republican League of 1895, and is a member of the Tippecanoe Club. As a writer on maritime matters, the subject of this sketch is well known, and we may mention the pamphlets "North American Lake Steamers versus Ocean Cargo Steamers," published in 1891; "Screw Steamships and Tow Barge Efficiency," and the "Great Lakes Register of Shipping," published in 1883. He has recently contributed several articles to Cassier's Magazine under the titles of "Structural Strength of Ships and Improved Arrangement for Repairing without Diminution of Strength;" "Shipbuilding and Transportation on the Great Lakes," and "Analysis of Lake and Ocean Steamship Models and Efficiency of Propelling Machinery."
Mr. Oldham is a member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers and of the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce Maritime Committee; and he acts as a member of the vestry of Emmanuel Church.
George Oldman, an engineer of much practical experience, came to the United States in 1886. He was born at Aberdeen, Scotland, July 13, 1868, where he received a common-school education, attending until 1881. He then served five years with the Clyde Shipbuilding Company as machinist, finishing with that company in 1886. After his arrival in this country he took a three-months course in an engineering school, and then shipped as oiler on the Clyde Steamship line, between New York and Jacksonville, Fla., remaining eighteen months. Later he shipped in the same capacity on the steamer Philadelphia, of the Red D. line, plying between New York and Venezuela, South America, remaining fifteen months. In the spring of 1890 he received his license as chief engineer of harbor tugs, and was appointed to the tug Fred B. Dalziel, out of New York. He came to the lakes in 1891, and served one season as fireman on the steamer Tacoma, and six months on each of the following steamers: Tuscarora, Saranac, Wallula, and tug Brockway. In the spring of 1894 he shipped as oiler on the steamer Sitka, and in the fall of 1894 he received engineer's license as first assistant and shipped as second engineer on the steamer Alcona, closing the season with her. He then went to work in the Cleveland Shipbuilding Company's shops as machinist, remaining four months, after which he shipped as second engineer on the steamer A.A. Parker, where he remained three months, closing the season of 1896 as stationary engineer with the United Salt Company at Cleveland, Ohio, and in December following took charge of the G.C. Kuhlman Car Works, of Cleveland. In January, 1898, he obtained chief engineer's license of lake steamers and took charge of machinery of steamer Louisiana in March of that year.
Mr. Oldman was married in 1895 at Sandusky, Ohio, to Miss Flora Diew, of that city.
CAPTAIN A. OLDORFF
Captain A. Oldorff sailed on salt water during the first ten years of his marine experience, and after visitng every important seaport in the world came to the Great Lakes in 1875. He has sailed since on many well-known vessels, and has been a shipmaster since 1889.
The Captain was born in Lubeck, Germany, in 1850, son of August Oldorff, a grocer, and commenced sailing at the age of fifteen. He spent three years on the brig Anna, visiting all parts of the world in her and running away from her at New York, where he shipped on the American vessel Golden State, in which he made a voyage around the Horn to Valparaiso and Peruvian ports and return. Then he went to Buenos Ayres, returning in the bark Lord Clarendon, and joined the ship Golden Fleece at New York for a voyage to Foo Chow, China, where tea was loaded for New York again. He spent several years in the West Indies trade with the Trowbridge line, and saw service in a number of coasting vessels on the Atlantic. Afterward he made a short trip to Spain in the bark Ibis, another to Palermo and Naples in a fruit-carrying vessel, and still another in the ship Olga to London, returning thence in a Nova Scotia brig, and he then came to the lakes. This was in 1875, and his first service was with the Bradley line. He was employed successively on the schooners John Burt, John Martin, Alva Bradley and Ahira Cobb, following which service he was wheelsman for six seasons on the steamer Vienna. From 1882 until 1889, he was mate of the steamer Robert Wallace, and master of her from 1890 until 1895. In 1896 he commanded the steamer Vulcan. Captain Oldorff was mate of the Wallace, when she went ashore at Marquette in a blinding snowstorm. The only other accident of importance in which he was concerned occurred on board the first vessel in which he sailed, the brig Anna; while she was lying in the harbor at Swansea, Wales, with a cargo of gas coal, an explosion of the accumulated gas took place and the decks were blown off. No one was injured, however.
Captain Oldorff was married in 1882 to Miss Louisa Kist, of Cleveland, and they had two children, William and August. Mrs. Oldorff passed away in 1890, and he later wedded Miss Frances Faulhaber.
JOHN A. O'MARA
John A. O'Mara is a steady, quiet, unobtrusive man, and a careful, capable engineer. He laid the foundation of his success in his chosen line by dint of industrious attention to details, and a thorough mastery of the fine points of his trade. Beginning life at the lowest round of the ladder, he has reached his present position with the Northern Steamship Company by reason of steady habits and a close attention to his various duties.
Mr. O’Mara is a son of Patrick and Katherine (Flanery) O’Mara, the former of whom has been steward in the employ of the Anchor line for a period of ten years. Patrick O’Mara has four sons besides John; Frank J., a letter carrier; Henry, a casket maker; James, a bricklayer; and George, a machinist by trade, who was oiler on the steamer Susquehanna, of the Anchor line, for the season of 1895.
The subject of this sketch was born at Buffalo December 24, 1865. In addition to a common-school education received at Public School No. 4 of that city, he attended the school of the Sisters of Mercy on Fulton Street and also St. Joseph’s College. Immediately succeeding his school days he found employment with the Buffalo Express Company as elevator boy, at which occupation he remained six months. From the Express he went to the Courier as mail boy, and then fed the respective presses of the Express, Telegraph and News. In 1880 he began a period of five years at learning his trade in David Bell’s shop, after which, in 1885, he entered the service of the Anchor line of steamers as oiler on the Conemaugh. In the early part of the season of 1886 he was still oiler on the Conemaugh, but finished it as second engineer of the Gordon Campbell, of the same line. During the first two months of the season of 1887 he was in the employ of the Eagle Iron Works, which he left to accept second engineer’s berth in the steamer Fred Mercur, of the Lehigh Valley line, and closed the season in that service. In 1888 he was second engineer of the E.P. Wilber for three months, and for the remainder of the season was second engineer of the steamer Clyde, also of the Lehigh Valley line. In 1889 he was second engineer respectively of the Clyde and H.E. Packer. In 1890 he fitted out the Fred Mercur, and then became second engineer of the Virginia, of the Goodrich Transportation company, between Chicago and Milwaukee, which he brought out of Cleveland new. The Virginia was laid up at Manitowoc, Wis., in the fall, and Mr. O’Mara closed that season, first with two trips as second engineer of the Chemung, and the remainder of the time as second of the Oswego, both of the Erie railway line. It was in 1891 that he first entered the service of the Northern Steamship Company, and during that season he was second engineer of the North Star, for the four succeeding seasons – 1892-93-94-95 — occupying chief’s berth in the same steamer. For the seasons of 1896-97-98 he was chief engineer of the Northern King.
Mr. O’Mara is a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, Lodge No. 1, of Buffalo. He was married at Buffalo, in 1884, to Miss Annie G. McClure, and they reside at No. 799 Elk Street, Buffalo, New York.
CAPTAIN PATRICK H. O'NEILL
Captain Patrick H. O'Neill will be remembered by all of the older captains and sailors, for he was well known from one end of the lakes to the other, and was popular with all who knew him. He was an older brother of Capt. William H. O'Neill, ex-harbormaster of Detroit. Captain O'Neill was born in Ireland in 1833, and came to this country in 1849. He began sailing in 1856, and for four years served as man before the mast, afterward rising to the position of master, in which capacity he sailed the schooner Ralph Campbell and several others. His last command was the bark Michigan, on which he was sailing when he died, some years ago, his death being caused by salt damp. His decease was sincerely mourned by a wide circle of friends and acquaintances.
Captain O'Neill was married and had a family in Detroit. His eldest son, William M., is a printer, and is the only one of the family not living in Detroit; George M. is a plumber; there are two other sons, Henry and Walter, and two daughters, Mrs. Julia Bradford and Miss Marie O'Neill, who has for several years been with Park, Davis & Co.
CAPTAIN W. H. O'NEILL
Captain W.H. O'Neill, who for ten years held the position of harbor-master at Detroit, is a native of County Kilkenny, Ireland, born in 1837, and was brought to the United States by his parents at an early age. The family settled in Detroit, Mich., and Captain O'Neill has resided there ever since. He attended school until thirteen years of age, when he first went on the lakes as boy forward, rising rapidly from that position to second mate, and then mate. After several seasons he became master of the schooner Harmonia, which he owned, and he later commanded the tug Red Eric, of which he was half owner. Captain O'Neill also sailed the Ballentine, the William A. Moore, and the Castle, after which he went ashore for some time. On returning to the lakes he sailed the Riverside, and then purchased the Burnside, which he owned for three years. In 1877 he left the lakes for two years and a half, during which time he served on the police force of Detroit, but he finally resumed his old occupation, taking command of the tug Mayflower for two seasons, and was on the John Martin and Frank Moffat one season each. He then fitted out the iron tug Carrington, taking her to Lake Superior, but he sailed her for a short time only. In 1884 Captain O'Neill left the lakes permanently, and again joined the police force of Detroit. After a few years he was made harbor-master at Detroit, and held the incumbency for ten years, during which time he came in personal contact with all the vesselmen in and near this harbor, and was a very popular officer. He has since been doorman at the Canfield avenue police station. He is a younger brother of the late Capt. Patrick H. O'Neill, who was for many years one of the most popular masters on the lakes.
Captain O'Neill is married and had one son, Walter B. O'Neill, who died in Washington, D. C. some three years ago; at the time of his death he was holding the prominent position of Assistant United States Attorney General under Olney.
CAPTAIN FRANK D. OSBORN
Captain Frank D. Osborn, master of the steamer Badger State for the season of 1896, was born in Berrien county, Mich., where he remained upon his father’s farm until thirteen years of age, and attended school in the vicinity. He is a son of Deloss and Elizabeth (Simpson) Osborn, the former having lost his life by drowning in a river in California in 1862, while prospecting for gold, his wife dying in the same year. There were three children in the family: Frank D. (our subject), Ezra, eastern agent for the Live Poultry Transportation Company, at Hoboken, N. J.; and Mary, wife of John Farley, residing at Cedar Rapids, Nebraska.
Captain Osborn, who was left an orphan when about seven years of age, was compelled to shape the course of life for himself. He began sailing as cabin boy on the schooner Skylark, Capt. H. K. Langley, out of St. Joseph, Mich., in the trade between that place and Chicago. He was next cook of the schooner Lizzie Doak, and altogether was about five seasons on sail vessels. In 1875 he first entered the service of steamers, being wheelsman of the S. D. Caldwell that season, between Chicago and Sarnia, and the succeeding season he shipped out of Detroit as wheelsman of the passenger steamer Benton in the trade between Cleveland and Saginaw. After a period of four years in the West he again returned to the lakes and shipped out of Chicago as wheelsman of the Roanoke, remaining that season (1881) and until the following June, when he changed to the H. D. Coffinberry on the same berth. The season of 1883 he remained on shore, but the next season was wheelsman of the passenger steamer India. In the spring of 1885 he was appointed to second mate’s berth on the India, which he filled until July 6, 1886, when he changed to the same berth on the steamer William Stevenson, then new, thus closing the season. The first three trips of the steamer Arizona, of the Anchor line, for the season of 1887, were made with Captain Osborn as her second mate, after which he was on mate’s berth until the close of the season. For the respective seasons of 1888-89 he was mate of the Annie Young and China, and was also on the latter during 1890. During the season of 1891 he was mate of the Winslow, remaining as such until she burned at the dock at Duluth, where she was loaded with general merchandise. The fire took place at noon on a day in October, and she burned to the water’s edge, a total loss, in two hours’ time.
In 1892 he was made master of the steamer India, and so remained until she stranded on the reef at Erie, about the middle of the season of 1893. From August of that season until the close of 1895 he was mate of the steamer Vanderbilt, during which season she collided with the steamer Mark Hopkins in Hay lake, the latter vessel sinking, but having since been raised. The Vanderbilt was bound up the lakes with a load of general merchandise, and the Hopkins down with iron ore. For the season of 1896 he was mate of the steamer Badger State until September 13, when he was promoted to master’s berth, in which he remained for the season of 1897.
Captain Osborn was married in Buffalo in 1882 to Miss Mary Holland, by whom he has seven children: William, John, Deloss, Mary, Eliza, Flora and Emma. The family residence is at North Tonawanda, New York.
T. J. OSBORNE
T.J. Osborne, a well-known citizen of Cleveland, who is connected with lake interests by virtue of his position as superintendent of dredging for the firm of L.P. & J.A. Smith, government and municipal contractors, was born in Cleveland, in 1848. He attended the public schools of his native city and is a graduate of the old West High School.
Mr. Osborne's first work was in the employ of United States engineers in charge of river and harbor improvements in various capacities. He left that service in 1889 to accept the position he now holds as superintendent of dredging for the firm of L.P. & J.A. Smith, of Cleveland. Col. P.M. Poe, under whose direction he worked for many years, gave him a generous testimonial as to the thoroughness and quality of his work and his qualifications as a superintending officer, as did several other United States engineers in charge of the work upon which he had been engaged. Since 1889 he had had charge of the entire dredging plant of the Smith brothers and has superintended all of their contract work with the government and city of Cleveland, including the dredging of the Cuyahoga river, and work of the same nature at Bar Point, Ashtabula harbor, Conneaut and Fairport, all of which has been satisfactorily accomplished. Mr. Osborne has won the entire confidence of the firm for which he works. The Cuyahoga, which has heretofore been a river to be avoided by heavily laden vessels on account of the many delays in getting on the bottom in shoal spots, has been uniformly deepened under his supervision, and such annoyances done away with. Mr. Osborne is a man of a genial and happy disposition and is very popular among his associates. He makes his home at No. 16 Monroe street, Cleveland, Ohio.
Wilkins Osgood, an engineer of good report and a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, is a son of Joseph and Mary Osgood. He was born at Garland, Penobscot, Co., Maine, in 1856, received a public-school education at that place, and afterward removing to Bay City, Mich., there commenced his seafaring life as assistant engineer on the steamer Mackinaw. He next shipped in the same capacity on the steamer Ontonagon, remaining one season, and the following year was appointed to the steamer Sitka, on which he remained six months, finishing the season on the Egyptian. He then shipped on the Aurora for one season; the John Harper for six months, finishing the season on the P. Minch; the Hadley six months, finishing in the Byron Whittaker; and the Matoa for one year. In 1885 he received chief's papers and engineered the D. P. Dobbins; in 1891 was appointed engineer of the Waverly, whereon he remained one year; was engineer of the W. P. Thew one season; the Fred Kelly one season, and the Hattie B. Perew, continuing on her two seasons and laying her up in the winter of 1896. Mr. Osgood has proved himself capable and skillful in the handling of an engine, and his bill of repairs is always small, the machinery under his care being kept in good working order.
Socially Mr. Osgood is an Odd Fellow, being a member of Phoenix Lodge, of Cleveland. He was united in marriage to Miss Elizabeth Straight of Salem, Ohio, on December 23, 1893.